This wearable device developed by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab spinoff was originally developed to study stress levels in autistic children & for detecting seizures. It’s now being marketed to fine tune product offerings by studying potential consumers’ subconscious reactions.
There’s a wide range of emotions that people experience in response to products & experiences. Shoppers’ reactions to brands can range from excitement to outright boredom & audience members at an event can feel engaged or apathetic.
Denver, Colorado, USA-based startup mPath has taken this promising MIT tech & run with it to offer a service where they can pinpoint the exact moment these subconscious responses are felt by consumers. It’s aim is to bring market research insights to companies & other organizations to help them better serve their customers.
The MOXO sensor is at the heart of mPath’s offering. It’s a wearable device that looks a lot like a bulky smartwatch, & measures & records changes in skin conductance. This reflects small electrical changes across your wrist’s skin which are correlated with “sympathetic nervous system activity & physiological arousal. Spikes in conductance can signal stress & frustration, while dips may indicate disinterest or boredom.”
mPath has come up with a way of using the MOXO sensors to conduct market research, which they call “emotyping.” They employ the sensors, together with GoPro cameras or eye-tracking glasses, to figure out where a person is looking at the exact moment an emotional spike or dip is registered. The process also involves interviews with participants who are confronted with & questioned about their responses.
This process is a step up from traditional market research, offering more precise emotional profiles of consumers. According to mPath CEO & Founder Elliot Hedman “…companies struggle to understand their customers’ emotional needs or wants, but if we listen a little to consumer emotions, there’s a lot of room for innovation. All these things combined together in emototyping tell us a deep story about the participant..”
These guys have worked with companies like LEGO, to track the emotions of children making constructs with their plastic pieces, or with Hasbro to try to figure out how immigrants can best learn to play Monopoly. They’re also working with companies like Google, Best Buy, Lowe’s, & with government organization & non profits like Denver’s Boys & Girls Clubs, in a project to encourage reading.
Image Credit: MOXO